Football Sunday’s are religion to me; 1:00, 4:00 and 8:00 is my oasis, my getaway, my happy place.
Nothing makes me happier than to sit on my couch for 11 straight hours enjoying NFL Football.
That all being said, I’ll admit that the 2016 season has not been the National Football League’s finest moment.
The games have lacked sizzle at times, the quality of play has not been the best and, to make matters worse, the postseason aside from the Cowboys-Packers thriller in the divisional round has lacked the usual drama you expect to see this time of the year.
That’s the bad news, and I’m sure many look at the potential Super Bowl matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and everybody’s favorite nemesis, the New England Patriots, expecting the worst.
“It’s been that kind of year, it’s been that kind of season.”
I’m not buying it. Maybe it’s because I’m an eternal optimist, but I expect Super Bowl 51 to deliver on the grand stage with the world watching.
History for starters is on the side of Super Bowl 51. Why? It’s a very simple answer.
Anytime the Super Bowl has featured the Patriots under Belichick and Brady, the game has been a fantastic one to watch.
All six Super Bowls involving the Patriots since 2001 have been decided by four points or less.
The Patriots are 4-2 in such Super Bowls, but the games have featured iconic moments.
Think about some of the moments in recent Super Bowls involving the Patriots over the years.
Whether it’s Adam Vinateri’s game-winning field goals or David Tyree’s epic helmet catch or, most recently, the baffling decision by Pete Carroll not handing the ball off to Marshawn Lynch, they are moments that will forever live in NFL History.
You can love or hate the Patriots, but when they’re in the Super Bowl, you’re treated to a classic.
Not only is history on the side of Super Bowl 51, but the matchup is a fascinating one.
The Patriots have the best coach and quarterback of this generation. It’s their seventh trip to the Super Bowl in the last 16 years, and Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are trying to become the first coach and quarterback to win five Super Bowls in the history of the sport.
The Patriots can beat you so many different ways. They’re well coached, they’re versatile, and they are by far the best team in the AFC.
However, the Atlanta Falcons have proven to the rest of America over the last few weeks that they absolutely belong on the big stage.
The Falcons road to the NFC title was well earned.
Atlanta steamrolled the battle-tested Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers in ho-hum fashion.
The Falcons road to the Super Bowl can be attributed to a record-setting offense.
Statistically speaking, the Falcons in 2016 are one of the top ten offenses in the history of the sport.
They can do it all.
Atlanta features a balanced attack led by soon-to-be MVP quarterback Matt Ryan. Ryan has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league for years, but has delivered the best season of his career in 2016.
He has the help of one of the best wide receivers in Julio Jones, and two terrific running backs in Devonte Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
The Falcons offense is legitimate, it’s for real and it should be taken seriously.
The key to Super Bowl 51 for the upstart Falcons however resides on the defensive side of the ball.
Pressure, pressure, pressure.
If you want to beat Tom Brady and the Patriots in the postseason, you need to pressure him.
Can the Falcons get to Brady with their front four?
It will decide Super Bowl 51.
I don’t think that they will.
I expect the Patriots to slow down the high-powered Atlanta offense just enough, and the best coach and quarterback of this generation will have their fifth super Bowl win.
They’ll earn it though, because history tells us so.
Super Bowl Pick (45-37-2)
New England -3